Let me ask you a question: why is leadership so important? I know it’s a simple question, but an important one. Good leaders have the ability to take their companies to the next level, while bad leaders can drag a company down. Leadership helps maximize efficiency and achieve organizational goals. More importantly, though, is that leadership can influence the behavior of others and motivate employees to achieve great things.
Improving leadership skills is a goal of many leaders that we talk to. It’s a great goal to have, but not always easy to accomplish. The following 7 TED talks provide excellent perspectives on many different facets of leadership that will challenge your current thinking and help you become a better leader.
1) "Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders" by Sheryl Sandberg
I’ll start this off with one of my personal favorites. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg looks at why a smaller percentage of women than men reach the top of their professions — and offers 3 powerful pieces of advice to women aiming for the C-suite.
2) "Listen, Learn ... then Lead" by Stanley McChrystal
Military generals are well known for their leadership skills. Four-star general, Stanley McChrystal, shares what he learned about leadership over his decades in the military. How can you build a sense of shared purpose among people of many ages and skill sets? By listening and learning — and addressing the possibility of failure.
3) "Lead Like the Great Conductors" by Itay Talgam
This one really caught my attention. Orchestra conductors face the ultimate leadership challenge: creating perfect harmony without saying a word. In this talk, Itay Talgam demonstrates the unique styles of six great 20th-century conductors, illustrating crucial lessons for all leaders.
4) "Tribal Leadership" by David Logan
David Logan talks about the five kinds of tribes that humans naturally form — in schools, workplaces, even the driver's license bureau. By understanding our shared tribal tendencies, we can help lead each other to become better individuals.
5) "Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe" by Simon Sinek
Simon Sinek is a well-known leadership expert, and this is a great TED Talk by him. He focuses on the question: what makes a great leader? Sinek suggests, it’s someone who makes their employees feel secure, who draws staffers into a circle of trust. But creating trust and safety — especially in an uneven economy — means taking on big responsibility.
6) "What It Takes to Be a Great Leader" by Roselinde Torres
The world is full of leadership programs, but the best way to learn how to lead might be right under your nose. In this short, 9-minute talk, Roselinde Torres describes 25 years observing truly great leaders at work, and shares the three simple but crucial questions would-be company chiefs need to ask to thrive in the future.
7) "Everyday Leadership" by Drew Dudley
Drew is the leadership development coordinator at the University of Toronto. He believes that everyone has the ability to be a leader, and that everyone can take the initiative in their daily lives to be a leader and change others’ lives for the better.
Want to watch more great TED Talks? Check out 6 Awesome TED Talks That Will Improve Your Working Life